It is important that Bulgaria does not remain without a political opposition, because to do so would be detrimental to democracy, President Roumen Radev said on June 16 in response to journalists’ questions about Kornelia Ninova’s withdrawal of her resignation as leader of the Bulgarian Socialist Party.
“I think that Mrs Ninova has proved to a person who knows what she is doing and is responsible for her actions,” Radev said.
He was speaking a few hours after, at a BSP congress, Ninova announced that she was withdrawing the resignation that she had submitted in the wake of the party’s defeat in Bulgaria’s May 2019 European Parliament elections.
Ninova’s reasoning was that the party should be stabilised before the October municipal elections in Bulgaria. She also hit out sharply at those who backed her removal, alleging that there were business people conniving to oust her as BSP leader. Ninova said that intra-party clashes could “liquidate” the BSP.
Radev, asked what he expected of the BSP June 16 congress, said that there should be a united, cohesive political opposition in Bulgaria, because otherwise those in power would remain without a “corrective”.
A former air force commander, Radev was elected head of state in Bulgaria’s November 2016 presidential elections, on a ticket backed by the BSP, which Ninova has headed since May 2016.
In office since January 2017, Radev routinely criticises Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s government. Borissov’s GERB party complained ahead of the May 2019 European Parliament elections that Radev was campaigning on behalf of the BSP, but the Central Election Commission (CEC) rejected this complaint. Radev, in turn, echoed BSP claims that GERB used state resources for its campaign. The CEC rejected a BSP complaint in this regard.
(Archive photo: Radev and Ninova in 2016, at the time of Bulgaria’s presidential elections)